Related Schemes and Literature

Beauty is only

skin deep? It is cliche. But sometimes there is truth lying beneath the surface of cliches. You just have to look hard enough. Is it not interesting that we should call it “skin deep” to imply that beauty is just on the surface or only superficially appreciated? Skin is a surface. It is the conduit of communication, complex communication between beings. It is not its own, some autonomous thing, but lives as a connected part of the whole being. Thoughts are expressed, hidden or disguised. We see how others react, get a first sense of who they are through their skin. We can’t see inside or truly know their thoughts. Touch can be light and playful, friendly, caring, or intimate. This surface, this skin, is more than just skin deep.

So what then is beauty? Or rather, what makes someone beautiful? It is only one thing, that which makes a person beautiful. Not how they look, or touch, or how they make your heart melt when you look into their eyes. Not their hair, their laugh, or impressive intellect. From their deep being wells up the beauty that can express itself in manifold ways. No two are exactly alike. Like good art, it may be difficult to define, but we know it and respond to it when we are in its true presence.

You’re Fired!!

Well, I would like to hope that I never get that “opportunity.” Then again, I don’t like hiring people or deciding who should and shouldn’t be hired.

If I ever did have to fire someone, depending upon the circumstances, I think the best way would be to get them fired up about leaving. Commiserate on how bad the environment is, that they don’t seem to be enjoying their work, and point out how much happier they would be in some other career. Discuss with them the things they don’t like where they are and how they think they are perceived by there co-workers, including me. Hint that their days may be numbered at the current place of employ. Help them decide what they are good at and motivated to do. Either they will decide to leave on their own or they will shape up their act. (OK, that is a false dichotomy. Realistically they may do neither, in which case, and as gently as possible, I would state that they have been fired, what points–in my opinion–they need to keep in mind at their next wonderful and exciting career, and wish them luck.)

Accuse me of sappy idealism, if you will! I care not! Like it or lump it, we have formed a relationship with those we work with and at times to whom we are the bearers of the news that that relationship is about to embark upon new and uncharted waters. Each of us is a human being and upon that count requires of us that others be treated with dignity. (This sounds a lot more sappy and fluffy than are my intentions for it to sound. Basically I mean that we help when and how we can, offer guidance if it is appropriate, because we are all in this together. I don’t mean that they shouldn’t be fired, or that you have to agree with them and do everything in your power not to hurt their feelings. Stuff (that is Life) happens. But I do mean that we should try not to humiliate or embarrass them. If it needs doing, God’ll see to it, and in a way that will be for their benefit (even they don’t believe it at the time–trust me, I know from first hand experience).)

For those unacquainted with Tristram Shandy and other works of the on-another-digression-ilk, Yes!–those are parenthetical remarks within parenthetical remarks. No apology is offered.


Do I like surprises? Generally, no. Unless they are something good. Then they are OK, as long as they are not presented in a way that is loud or startling. They could be neutral, I guess in that case they are OK as well, and wouldn’t be presented loudly.

Life is interesting and full of all kinds of surprises, especially if you know where to look. The best surprise all year–well, my guess is that it hasn’t happened yet. I wouldn’t be surprised if it waited until the last day of the year. Which it probably won’t now, since it wouldn’t be a surprise if I’m expecting it. Unless it tries to be sneaky and knows I won’t think it is the last day of the year, because I already thought it would be the last day of the year and goes ahead and surprises me then anyway, and really it would do well to almost-best surprise me sometime before then to lull me into a sense of security, thinking the surprise has already come and gone (surprises can be surprisingly clever that way), thus not expecting a surprise to come later than it already had, I might be really surprised when hit by the actual surprise, and even in that case it would have to be extraordinarily good (like lots of money) and extraordinarily quiet, that is not loud, for me to be caught unawares. That would be really surprising. Nah, who am I kidding. I’d hear it coming.


OK, out of order, a dollar late and a day short. How would I tax people? No, the better question is How do I tax people? The answer is simple–with my blog, of course!

November is getting closer and I really am going to have to get my priorities in order. No more cheesy, late responses to the daily post! (Famous last words…)


This is from my reply to today’s daily post challenge. Some of the references are to others’ comments
Heartbeats are nice and fluffy, but really it has more to do with the natural stress patterns in English. Latin and Greek meter are quite different, and orators were expected to use specific meter in their speeches, and it wasn’t iambic.
It only sounds forced if you don’t know what you are doing (see this awful thing for an excellent example of ‘sounding forced’).
Self deprecation aside, the point of using meter is that it easy to get it right in a particular language but have it sound terrible, and a challenge to make it sound natural. The art of it is in having self-imposed limitations and still expressing your feelings. I would say that this tension forces the artist to look more deeply into his or her feelings. The choice is not arbitrary, but comes about through the need to be challenged in the context of a particular language, and yet still be successful at that challenge. Paradise Lost by Milton is in (a lot) of iambic pentameter. It sounds very natural, well at least to someone in 17th century England. Convoluted at times, most definitely, but not forced.

$1000 of . . .


So lets say, as I feel that $1000 of superballs qualifies as an “in bulk” order, we could get them for 10 to the dollar. That’s right–10,000 Superballs, or Flumis as they are otherwise known (use German pronunciation).

A short blog today, but I believe the answer is simple and immediate–one, huge, hollow, super-glued-together superball shell. Strategic openings can be left so that the adventurous can climb inside, get attached so as to be suspended in the middle and bounced somewhere sufficiently public, big, wide, and flat (for a fee of course. I have seen some similar plastic ball rides in a kiddie pool priced at $8.00 a pop, so I’m thinking we could get at least $50 a ride.)

Now where did I put that structural engineer…

The Perfect Sandwich

The perfect sandwich, and only $5000!!! Well, the saying is that artist who is
under the most obdurate constraints, will become the most creative.

First things first. I must effect my surroundings such that I will be in the
proper mood to create said sandwich. So off to England I go, to Kent–which is
the Garden of England by the way–wherein lies the rural seat of the Earl of
Sandwich. It was the 4th Earl, apparently, whose name got (well, actually his
titular name) applied to what we mean usually when we say ‘sandwich.’ I
remember in the sweet days of my youth that it was he, so I was told, who
invented the sandwich. This came from one of those (or possibly several)
‘educational’ TV shows. I thought it a bit odd that no one had done that
before. I was right, of course. We even have a recipe from Ancient Rome,
apparently one of the most popular, for ground beef shaped into a patty,
cooked and slapped between two pieces of bread. Go figure. They used a fish
sauce for their condiment. Probably something like Thousand Island–which
reminds me by way of the Sandwich Islands (named by Cook for said same 4th
Earl), that I should continue with my perfect sandwich. Estimated cost so far:

Having set the mood, the next item is to decide where the work of my genius
will be displayed. A picnic is most fitting. The country-side of Kent abounds
with meadows. Traditional picnic basket, clean linen (never settle for less)
napkins, service for four. Estimated cost: $200. The after-sandwich wine,
Chateau d’Yquem, $300 (this is the small bottle, so we will only get a taste,
but from what I hear, well worth it). Assorted fruits, fresh, ripe and in
season, crisp garden salad with Thousand Island dressing (naturally),
pastries, cookies and whatever else is lying around looking tasty. Let’s say
$500, just to keep options open. And on that note, 3 attractive, young, single
ladies to share the victuals and keen conversation. Cost $0. (But note: the
accrued cost in residuals due to a possible, reciprocal attraction between
myself and one of the young ladies would most certainly exceed the amount set
for the sandwich. Because the likelyhood of such an eventuality is difficult
to predict, and as it is only indirectly related to the project, I have chosen
not to include any estimates in the cost of the project).

The sandwich itself, slow-roasted Kobe beef, imported, sliced paper thin and
stacked high on fresh baguettes, a splash of au juis and a dash of
stone-freshly ground mustard. Estimated cost $1000. This may seem to be too
high, but I intend to make many sandwiches, chosing only the best 4 for the
picnic, and distributing the remaining sandwiches to those living nearby. It
never hurts to feed those who in proximity to the Grand Event, the Revealing
of the Sandwich, will no doubt later be interviewed for all the major news
sources, in order that they would give a glowing review.

The remaining $1000 would be spent preserving the last, yet uneaten, bite of
my most perfect of all sandwiches. It must be done in such a way as to keep
all the subtle nuances of nibbled edges, stray bits of mustard, and wayward
pickle pieces (from the dressing) in pristine, unchanging glory. Also a case
to put it in to protect it in its many travels across the globe to only the
finest of art establishments. My fame assured, I shall then retire in order
that I might spend the rest of my days blogging of my success.

Does Technology Help You Write?

An excellent question at an excellent time. I must answer in the ambivalent.

Yes. It helps me write. Especially now that I have learned to touch type (almost 3 years now), it really is a lot easier than writing things out by hand. I have been pushing myself to get past the 40wpm barrier, and even though I am not consistently there, I have noticed that I can more easily think while I am typing. My fingers are catching up to my thoughts. This frees more of my mind to think about what I want to write and not worry that it will be too much to type. Another way it helps, and this has been a much longer journey on a much steeper hill, is with editing what I have written. The tool of choice for text editing is (for me) Vi Improved, or Vim for short. It works on text with a bevvy–yes, a veritable bevvy–of features. It works the way my mind works when I think about editing. For me this is a very good thing. It takes a while to get used to it, and much longer to become proficient. It has been for me worth the effort, yea, at times the Frustration! I have always the internet close at hand. This will be valuable when it comes to nanowrimo. I can easily research that long forgotten tidbit of information needed to add that special polish to the daily grind. And I can even play a game while I’m at it. (This is where the ambivalence comes in).

No. That said, technology can be more than a little distracting, especially when there are other things to be done. I have found myself more than once taking a quick look at a website and coming to some hours later, perhaps more informed (the latest was an html5 site), but, alas!, without having completed the task I–ahem–sat down to accomplish. The last couple of days my poor wordpress blog has been floundering.

Some may say that the distractions outweigh the advantages, but I say to them: “Bah! Thou knowest not my subtlety. For surely it matters not where I be nor what mode employ, I shall find sufficient that about me for distraction.” Which reminds me, I just need to make a few more tweaks…I know I left that link around here somewhere…

The last movie. . .

One of the last movies that I have seen, but not one of the latest, is the Dinner Game. Now, this is not the remake that was recently released in the US, but an earlier French version. I have watched it several times over the years, and it remains hilariously funny. Most of the comedies of this type here are much too adolescent and their actors leave behind that ‘look-I’m-being-funny-but-my-character-doesn’t-know-it’ residue that just never seems to clean up easily.

Not so, the French version. But first, a brief intro for those who may be unacquainted with the plot. This group of well-to-do friends, have a weekly dinner. They each invite a guest. The winner of the evening is the one who brought the most idiotic, stupid guest with the strangest interest. Of course, the ‘idiot’ does not know this, and thinks that they are truly impressed, may offer a book deal, &c. Well, this time it doesn’t quite work out as planned. The gentleman in question has certainly found the ‘perfect idiot.’ Too perfect. I shan’t give away any more, except to say that it involves not only the man and his idiot guest, but also the man’s wife, her former lover, the man’s current mistress and the idiot’s best friend, who happens to be a tax inspector for the French government.

Each of the characters is believable and well acted, but none more so than the idiot. His is superbly acted and seems as if he really is that inept. I am really picky about how characters are acted, and don’t like it when my suspension of disbelief gets interrupted. That doesn’t happen here at all.

Check it out, and if you do decide to watch it, keep the original French audio and use subtitles if needed. There is no way a dubbed version could hope to match the delicate, rapid and intertwined conversations.

Odds ‘N’ Ends

Short(er) post today. Did not care too much for today’s postaday prompt so, rebel that I am, I am going to write about stuff of interest from today. The presentation will be in the form of a list in honor of much of today being centered around lisp.

(defun describe (item)
 (cond ((eq item "humorous article")
         (web-open-stream this-post-gender-normative-guy-walks-into-a-bar))
        ((eq item "kierkegaard")
         (download-ebook Provocations))
        ((eq item "lisp gui tools")
        ((eq item "norvig")
         (grok peter-norvig-site))
        (t (format t "Whew!~%"))))

(This assumes some non-standard functions have been implemented)
Most of the day, aside from looking for work, was spent trying to find out how to use lisp to program a graphical user interface. At this point I only have a few leads. Many of the ‘projects’ out there haven’t seen the light of day for some years now. I am also not sure why I would want to do this. This morning there was a definite reason, but I’m having trouble recalling exactly what that reason was. It would be nice to know, if only to rationalize the time spent in searching.
On the other hand, I did find some funny articles, another book to put onto my wish list and a new (and poorly formatted) website to explore that has a lot to do with lisp. Also, if you google ‘The Lisp Curse’ you will find a well-written article that attempts to explain the current state of lisp development and the lisp community. Food for thought, certainly. And so I push on.

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